When training various elements can influence one’s psyche and it is essential to “program” one’s mind to be as productive as possible in the little that most Hessians can dedicate for training. Music can strengthen certain emotions and conjure up feelings of strength, fortitude and determination which are mandatory qualities to progress in any domain. At times the flow of an album doesn’t correlate with a training session and it can be interesting to create playlists of different artists. Here is a playlist that I personally use when working muscular endurance/cardio for upcoming competitions.
Villain – “Kamikaze”
The NWOBHM sound was already well integrated into Speed metal and the velocity and general ferocity had been pushed much higher. Though despite it’s descent into heavier territory, the hysteria and dramatic urgency of the previous generation had faded away. Here Villain flip the formula and take Speed metal ferocity and inject it into their histrionic Heavy metal for a song that charges headfirst into the battlefield like the Kamikazes it evokes.
Blind Guardian – “Majesty”
Taking from Ride the Lightning, Blind Guardian added a dose of fantastic flair in a fast paced and brooding epic that works within the extended Speed metal format. The leads float gloriously above the riffs without subverting them and then leading back to the grandiose chorus that forces the listener to sing along with it. The riffs are rich in melodic content and the bridge cuts off into a furiously pounding melody before building the tension into an uplifting solo that prepares the listener to surpass their limits.
Iced Earth – “Stormrider”
A brief clean intro that blasts into a Death/Speed metal hybrid where Jon Schaffer’s hoarse grunt glides on top of the rhythmic insanity of closely connected machine gun stutter riffs that are distinguishable from each other thanks to the mysterious and barely resolved chord progressions that only make sense at the song’s conclusion where all the loose ends are tied up. The way the angular notes of the main motif pop out against the beat is bound to get the blood flowing into any one.
Exhorder – “Desecrator”
A band that is unfortunately compared to Pantera due to the “groovy” nature of both and the similarities of the vocals. Desecrator is everything that Pantera wanted to be and much more. This exists completely within the Death metal riff maze and uses the bouncy rhythm to supplement the melodies but doesn’t ever fall into a one note chugging pattern nor does it make a motif out of the rhythm itself. Exhorder produces a song that progresses slowly while amassing tension before exploding into of the craziest climaxes that this writer has ever heard. A great song for when fatigue kicks in and the extra boost of anger is necessary.
Pestilence – “Commandments”
Oscillating between pure Death metal and bouncier Speed metal. This song is a library of dizzying ideas that endlessly expand and develop on each other. Only at the end after the shredding solo do the ideas deconstruct into a simple power chord sequence before playing the central motif and ending on a short conclusion that could have led the song elsewhere. This is a wild composition that maintains equilibrium but could have derailed at any actual moment due to the large amount of ideas. This is great music for casting off the shackles of a tedious work day and to jump right into training.
Demolition Hammer – “44 Caliber Brain Surgery”
Hardcore agression mixed with a Speed/Death metal hybrid of few riffs but that seeks to ravage everything in its path before ending. A change in pace in the middle but not of intent allows a short rest before the crushing nature of the verse riffs return to assault the listener. Lesser bands would take this approach and dilute even more but here the hardcore sensibilities only make brief appearances to add swift bursts of brutality before allowing the riffs to explode through. I do not personally recommend training to this song unless you have excellent cardio or strength as any restraint previously held will vanish.
Monstrosity – “Definitive Inquisition”
A cadenced pounding melody opens this song before a full on Death metal labyrinth emerges that slows down but with a few accelerations that are almost unexpected. Corpsegrinder’s vocals have actual character before he fell into monotone rhythmic grunts. Though the transitions aren’t the most natural, the band manage to make them work by force and by imposing these transitions multiple times. The technical expertise of all the musicians allow them to creates spectacular riffs that never fail to keep the momentum going through various releases and increases of tension before exploding towards the end. Truly crushing Death metal for those heavy lifting sessions.
Suffocation – “Anomalistic Offerings”
The ultimate training song on this list. The muffled and muddied production works perfectly when the muscles are sore and the brain is assaulted by the suffering caused from lactic acid. The crushing breakdowns, the incredible melody after the first release can raise any man with the slightest amount of testosterone to outdo themselves constantly. The barrage of calculated noise that constitutes the solo and final climax is the perfect moment to end a set as hard as possible. Everything about this song is related to struggle including the lyrics narrating an exceedingly difficult procedure to purify oneself from evil. The melodies that transfer momentum forwards throughout the song while continuously reaching towards a monstrous conclusion. This is my personal pick for the ultimate training song in all of music.
Nihilist – “Sentenced to Death”
A two note pattern that adds a few dissonant notes before bursting into a three note chromatic ascent in the opposite direction. The climax is multiple groupings of the two note idea played at blinding speed. The rawness and the fluidity of the ideas that the band mold slowly in every iteration of the simple ideas. The chorus riff will changes slightly each time it is played with certain embellishments added and small changes in the order of the chords. Fast and to the point with a few start and stop devices to connect the ideas make this a song for an end of workout push before cooling down and getting ready to eat a large satisfying meal.